You don’t need a garden or an outdoor grill for a barbecue, just a cast iron, ridged griddle pan. Also called a grill pan, this metal pan grills food on the gas stovetop and in the oven. It heats up quickly (as fast as two minutes) and evenly, and is perfect for searing meats, grilling fish and vegetables, and toasting bread. Griddle pans with ridges creates criss-cross, chargrilled lines on the food. The ridges also drain oil from meats.
Can't decide which griddle pan to pick? We sizzled meats on these four pans to test out their effectiveness.
1. OUR FAVE: LE CREUSET 32.5cm RECTANGULAR GRILL, $299
VERDICT: 9/10. The well-grilled meats and classy grill lines won us over.
- It's fairly handy: The 32cm by 21cm pan fits nicely into our countertop oven. The grill fits six small pieces of pork loin.
- Not too heavy: The weight is spread out across the rectangular pan and does not feel as heavy in the hand. The ridges are low and well-spaced – cleaning in between the spaces was easy.
- The grill lines are substantial and wide apart. The 2cm wide diagonal ridges on the pan create deep and wide criss-cross patterns. The meats were consistently the most well-grilled. They were the most flavourful and juicy on the inside.
This Le Creuset grill pan is available at Isetan Scotts & Katong, Takashimaya D.S., Tangs Orchard & Robinsons Centrepoint.
2. BEST VALUE: IKEA FAVORIT GRILL PAN, $69
VERDICT: 7.5/10. Inexpensive, with the most user-friendly handles.
- Fit and weight: The 28cm square grill fits up to six small pieces of pork loin. It was the easiest to move from stovetop to countertop to the oven.
- The two large handles are the most comfortable to hold with gloves among the pans tested. They are welded to the 4cm-high sides of the pan and are not as close to the tabletop as the handles of the other pans.
- The grill lines are deep and clear, but thin. The ridges are close to one another (1 cm apart), and so are the lines. We tried grilling pork loin on this several times. The insides of the meats were less juicy than those cooked on the other pans.
Buy this IKEA grill pan at Ikea: 317 Alexandra Road, (S) 159965; opening hours: 10am-10pm daily; Tel: 6786 6868 and 60 Tampines North Drive 2, (S) 528764; opening hours: 10am - 11pm daily; Tel: 6786 6868; website: www.ikea.com/sg/en.
3. LODGE PRESEASONED SINGLE BURNER REVERSIBLE GRIDDLE, $199
VERDICT 8/10. Double-sided convenience; but takes practice.
- The most versatile pan. The top (flat) and bottom (ridged) sides of the 28cm square pan are usable. Its four sides are raised by just 0.5cm, and like traditional skillets, there are holes in each handle you can use to hang the pan up.
- It’s hard to pick it up from the hob with our gloved hands, no thanks to the low handles and especially when it’s hot. But it was easy to clean between the well-spaced ridges.
- The grill lines are broad and thick. The ridges are fairly tall and well-spaced (about 2cm apart). It made evident lines on the chicken thighs, even though uneven surfaces make it hard for clear lines to form. The food were fairly juicy and flavourful.
Purchase this grill at Razorsharp: 315 Outram Road #01-03, Tan Boon Liat Building, (S) 169074; Tel: 6227 7515.
4. STAUB AMERICAN SQUARE GRILL, $198
VERDICT: 8.5/10. Small and heavy, with two useful spouts.
- It's easy to drain the oil from the grill: The 28cm square pan has a long handle and two spouts to drain the oil before washing it. We can cook six small pieces of pork loin at a time.
- It’s heavy: we needed to use both hands to carry the pan by its long handle. But a small tab on the side opposite the handle makes it slightly easier.
- The grill lines are distinct but thin and they are about 1.5cm apart. The food is juicy and moist, the second most flavourful after the meats grilled on the Le Creuset.
This Staub grill is available at most electrical stores. All product and pricing information was correct at the time of the magazine's publication. We advise readers to check with the store for the latest availability and pricing information.
OTHER STORE LOCATIONS
Takashimaya departmental store: 391 Orchard Road, (S) 238873; opening hours: 10am to 9.30pm daily; tel: 6738 1111; website: www.takashimaya-sin.com. Tangs Orchard: 310 Orchard Road, (S) 238864; opening hours 10.30am - 9.30pm on Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays, 10:30am - 11:00pm on Fridays and 11:00am - 8.30pm on Sundays; Tel: 6737 5500.
Isetan Scotts: 350 Orchard Road, Shaw House, (S) 238868; Tel: 6733 1111; operating hours: 10.00am to 9.30pm daily and Isetan Katong: 80 Marine Parade Road, Parkway Parade, (S) 449269; Tel: 6345 5555; opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm on Sundays to Fridays and 10am to 10pm on Saturdays; website: www.isetan.com.sg.
This article was originally published in SimplyHer November 2010.